NCAA Championship Game 2012: Will Missouri Fans Root for Kansas or Kentucky?

Jeremy SickelContributor IIIApril 2, 2012

OMAHA, NE - MARCH 16:  Fans of the Missouri Tigers support their school against the Norfolk State Spartans during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at CenturyLink Center on March 16, 2012 in Omaha, Nebraska.  (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images

It isn’t uncommon for the casual sports fan to root for conference affiliation when their favorite team is no longer in the hunt for the National Championship. But with conference realignment shaking up the entire college sports landscape, it makes it complicated for those fans to align themselves and genuinely cheer for the success of their team’s former conference and any team affiliated as such.

In the case for fans of the Missouri Tigers, this year’s National Championship presents a very unique opportunity for them to either embrace or divest their previous alliance to the Big 12 and provide a seamless transition into the SEC—their new conference beginning with the 2012 football season.

While the die-hard Missouri fans wouldn’t be caught dead ever wishing for the success of anything tied to the Kansas Jayhawks, the traditionalist is caught in the middle.

With Missouri’s natural ties to the Midwest and its long-time affiliation to the Big 12 and former Big 8, the purist will be forced to decide during tonight’s game whether to lean towards history by cheering for Kansas, or ride the wave into the next generation of Missouri athletics and laud their future conference mates in Kentucky.

Will Missouri fans decide to support the long-standing narration of its program and give the Big 12, and Kansas, one last encouraging hurrah? Or will they turn away, never looking back, and heave all of their constructive cheers towards Kentucky?

However, regardless of the outcome, Missouri and its fans have their eyes set firmly on the future. But they also understand that the opportunity wouldn’t be there for them to flourish in a healthier setting alongside Kentucky in the SEC had it not been for its history and connection with Kansas and the Big 12.

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